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One Blackbird at a Time (Paperback) (Wendy Barker)

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about this item

Barker’s poems capture what life is like on the other side of the English teacher’s desk, how she reacts to her students’ lives and their genuine if not always reverential responses to the literature she aspires to teach. Barker’s poems are funny, frightening, moving, and playful (as shown by the title’s reference to Wallace Stevens’ famous poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” As poet Kevin Prufer notes in his endorsement of the book, “It would be easy to say this is a book about teaching—it is!—but it’s also a book about how our experience of reading humanizes us and shapes our experience of the world and other people.” Alice Friman writes, “At base, reading down through layers of Barker’s insight, remembrance, and even confession, these poems and the literature they examine affect everyone. In this classroom, no one is exempt. Not the students, not the reader, and—bless her—not the teacher.”

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